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Tor developing anonymous instant messenger

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Tor has been making it easier and easier over the years to anonymously browse the web, and now it's working to make it just as easy to chat anonymously too. Tor is currently working on a secure instant messaging app for the desktop that will automatically route encrypted messages through its anonymous network. The instant messenger may be available on its own or included as part of the Tor Browser Bundle — an app that allows users to easily enable Tor and begin browsing the web anonymously.

Messages would be encrypted and sent through Tor

The instant messenger is still in the early planning stages, but Tor's developers seem to be preparing to turn it around quickly. The messenger will be built on Instantbird, an existing open-source messenger, and development will largely involve adding in Off-the-Record Messaging encryption, making it send its messages over Tor, and stripping it of some automated logging and reporting features. Tor hopes to have its first step of work on the messaging app completed by the end of March, but it doesn't draw a timeline for the project out from there.

Tor's developer site — where the project was initially spotted by The Daily Dot — indicates that it also hopes to have independent auditors assess the security of Instantbird and Tor's implementation of it. Tor also wants to have the app translated into a number of different languages, including Arabic and Farsi, to make it accessible to a variety of activists who may be met with violence or prosecution for their activities. There have been plenty of chat apps promising security before — and even a messenger that works over Tor — but having one bundled with the biggest name in online anonymity could be a huge addition for people trying to communicate around oppressive regimes.